Release 2.5 of the International Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set (ICOADS) is a major update (covering 1662–2007) of the world's most extensive surface marine meteorological data collection. Building on extensive national and international partnerships, many new and improved contributing datasets have been processed into a uniform format and combined with the previous Release 2.4. The new data range from early non-instrumental ship observations to measurements initiated in the twentieth century from buoys and other automated platform types. Improvements to existing data include replacing preliminary Global Telecommunication System (GTS) receipts with more reliable, delayed mode reports for post-1997 data, and in the processing and quality control (QC) of humidity observations. Over the entire period of record, spatial and temporal coverage has been enriched and data and metadata quality has been improved. Along with the observations, now updated monthly in near real time, Release 2.5 includes quality-controlled monthly summary products for 2° latitude × 2° longitude (since 1800) and 1° × 1° boxes (since 1960), together with multiple options for access to the data and products. The measured and estimated data in Release 2.5 are subject to many technical changes, multiple archive sources, and historical events throughout the more than three-century record. Some of these data characteristics are highlighted, including known unresolved errors and inhomogeneities, which may impact climate and other research applications. Anticipated future directions for ICOADS aim to continue adding scientific value to the observations, products, and metadata, as well as strengthen the cooperative enterprise through expanded linkages to international initiatives and organisations.